AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN TAJIKISTAN

20.01.2020 15:32

Grape cultivation and wine production in Tajikistan

HISTORY OF GRAPE CULTIVATION IN TAJIKISTAN

According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, countries located in the 40 ° -50 ° N (50 ° - 40 ° N) zone are the most favorable for growing grapes. Along with Turkey, Italy, and other countries, Tajikistan is included in this area on the political map. (Ref. to map).

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Historical sources contain interesting facts about viticulture, juice and wine production, and the interest of foreign traders in Central Asian grapes. Willy Rickmers, German businessman, who was engaged in gold mining in Tajikistan in the late 19th century, after the Russian emperor revoked the license from Samarkand, went to the valleys near Samarkand and began producing wine and wine just a few years before the October Revolution. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Soviet Union imported a number of essential goods (fine wool, cotton, coffee, tea, etc.). In particular, strong drinks such as rum, which was considered an original and special drink at that time, were imported from tropical countries, which were expensive and capricious due to the lack of foreign currency. At the time, Moscow instructed Dushanbe to study the possibility of growing subtropical crops, especially narrow trees, citrus fruits, figs, pomegranates, jute plants, olives, rubber plants, guava, and sugar cane, by creating research and experimental stations.

istekhsoli-rom.jpg The research focused on the cultivation of tung plants, citrus, fig, pomegranate, olive, rubber and sugar crops. From the first sugar cane plantations in the southern areas (Farkhor, Schaartuz) were obtained up to 40-50 tons of sugar cane. 

Research focused on the cultivation of Tung plants, citrus, fig, pomegranate, olive, rubber and sugar-containing plants.  From the first sugar cane plantations in the southern areas (Farchor, Schaartuz) were obtained up to 40-50 tons of sugar cane.

The history of the creation of sugar cane fields in Tajikistan is very interesting. The first experimental fields were laid in the southern regions of the country (Farkhor and Shahrituz), where due to the proximity of the Panj and Kyzylsu rivers, the presence of endless forests and high humidity favorable for sugar cultivation, the sugar cane harvest was 40-50 tons per hectare. The main goal - sugar production-soon proved to be economically inefficient.

It was decided to produce a rum drink from sugar, and later from "molasses" - a thick brown saturated sugar syrup. For this purpose, a rum factory was built next to one of the 9 laboratories, and the sugar juice was poured into clouds from the cloud tree after completing the necessary processes to convert it into rum.

istekhsoli-rom-bochkakho.jpgFive years after the establishment of sugar cane crops and a rum factory in 1949, at the Moscow exhibition dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the formation of the USSR, modern scientists informed the participants about the abundant sugar harvest and presented five-year-old rum. There was no difference from "qualitative Western products" in taste, color, quality and alcohol. In the following years, grape cultivation, tobacco cultivation (up to 10 thousand tons of high-quality tobacco), geranium oil, delicious lemons, figs, etc. developed and, along with other countries, has become a friendly place for tourists and environmentally friendly in general.

Unfortunately, in the following years, the continuation of this economically attractive project was suspended due to a number of external factors and was replaced by the cultivation of other industrially important technical products (grain, beets, rapeseed, etc.). . At the same time, there were more cotton and tobacco grown in the following years and the area under the vineyards limited the possibility of growing sugar cane.

Viticulture has become a profitable industry in Tajikistan. Due to the small amount of irrigated land in the 70s of the last century, grape cultivators paid attention to the development of rain-fed lands and received a good harvest. More than 16 state farms of the USSR were engaged in industrial cultivation and processing of grapes. There were grape state farms that annually collected up to 20 tons of grapes per hectare. Due to favorable weather and sunny days, the sugar content in Tajik grapes was 26-28%. The availability of high-quality products contributed to the development of the wine and vodka industry. Tajik good quality wine has found its customers in the territory of the former Soviet Union.

26-06-20-ZakVin.jpgAccording to Soviet-era statistics, by 1985 Tajikistan was producing up to 6 million decaliters (60,000 tons) of white wine "Dushanbe", "Pamir", red vine "Vakhsh", "Hissar", "Jaus", "Aral" and "Tagobi",  "Shirin" and "Orzu", as well as the port wines "Tajikistan", Kurgan-Tube and "Toifi". Every year, the Shahrtuz winery produced more than 3 million bottles of Soviet champagne.

The current state of the grape processing and wine production industry (with the exception of vodka) is well known. It's not even part of the production of that period. In particular, the adoption of the law banning the production, sale and circulation of dry wine since 1985 has had a negative impact on the future of the wine and wine industry in Tajikistan.

vino.jpgAccordingly, the production equipment has become outdated and unusable, and the range of raw materials, i.e. grapes, has changed. Preference will be given to the cultivation of new and adapted varieties of grapes in Tajikistan in connection with their more long-term storage and subsequent sale. The lack of competitiveness of Tajik wine and the general decline in its consumption within the country are other reasons for the backwardness of this sector. Although the latter reason tends to change. Some entrepreneurs and investors argue that wine production in a traditional country is economically inexpensive, there are only few products. We can't agree with that. You can see that of the 6 million decaliters of wine and 3 million bottles of Tajik champagne produced before 1985, the taste and popularity of which was not inferior to other wines and "Crimean champagne", only a part was spent in Tajikistan, and the rest was exported to the participating countries. and its revenues until 1985 amounted to 12-15% of the republican budget.

ABUNDANCE OF RAW MATERIALS, STAGNATION IN THE INDUSTRY. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE

1-PIC7510.jpgThe area of vineyards in Tajikistan, according to statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, is about 38,000 hectares. An average of 500,000 tons of grapes are harvested annually, which is equivalent to 13 tons of grapes or 100 hectoliters of wine per hectare. According to industry ministries and departments, 50 grape varieties are grown in 45 districts of Tajikistan. Tursunzade, Hissar, Shahrinav, Dangara, Istaravshan, the Bobojon-Gafurov districts are leaders in the field of cultivation of grapes. Tajik grapes are a sweet and vitamin-rich fruit with a sugar content of up to 25%.

Demand for Tajik grapes abroad is growing. Currently, Tajik grapes are exported to Russia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

SHokhona-assorti.jpgHere we consider it necessary to write a few words about the production of vodka. The vodka market in Tajikistan is now developing well. Vodka producers work mainly to meet the needs of the domestic market, although Tajik vodka is considered by industry experts to be of high quality and delicious. Tajikistan uses raw wheat and water from mountain springs to produce alcohol. Natural springs in Tajikistan have a low salinity and high quality of organic matter, which is favorable for the production of vodka.

Why is the country's private sector not interested in wine production when, as noted above, the country produces up to 500,000 tons of sugar-containing raw materials annually? We consider it necessary to clarify this issue and at the same time identify the basis for its production.

  1. Undoubtedly, the industrial production of grape wine, unlike vodka and beer, is more complex, more expensive and requires large investments. However, the export of processed products is usually better and more profitable than the export of raw materials. In other words, May exports will be more profitable than grape exports.
  2. For the production of high-quality grape wine, modern equipment and technologies are needed, the acquisition of which will be possible only by providing repayment loans.
    1. In the 20-30s of the last century, a group of scientists and specialists from all over the Soviet Union was sent to Tajikistan to study and experiment with the production of cannabis and rum, and new research institutes, laboratories and wineries were established for this purpose. This sector, which has not been developed in Tajikistan for several years, requires highly qualified specialists and managers of international level, as well as local specialists.
    2. Over time, all existing infrastructure (state farms, vineyards, receiving and storage, processing and production lines) will be abolished, and their land will be used for other purposes. etc. Despite the fact that they are beautiful and attractive, they are not suitable for growing in May, it is necessary to create new varieties of domestic grapes. hardly.
    3. Wines should be produced under new domestic brands. Modern times require new ways of preaching. Today, in the European markets, many customers are not only known but also considered popular drinks "Raki", "Wine", "Shiraz", "Shabbat", as well as dozens of types of drinks of the peoples of the East.
    4. It is proven that European citizens consume more alcohol during ceremonies. If the country wants to position itself as a destination for ecotourism, the presence of several types of noble and high-quality local wines can encourage more customers and travelers to go to Tajikistan. The organization of new tourist trips to the vineyards, the cultivation of cherries, the opportunity to present products in the form of souvenirs,and acquaintance with the work of farmers will undoubtedly contribute to the rapid promotion of the industry.

THE PRODUCTION OF WINE AND ITS PROSPECTS

In 2019, 244 million hectoliters (24.4 million tons) of red and white wine were consumed (drunk) worldwide. Last year, 108 million hectoliters of wine were sold and crossed. In other words, every second bottle of wine is drunk outside the country of origin.

Wine Intelligence, a research and consulting firm that studied alcohol consumption during the coronavirus pandemic, found that Europe, the UK, Canada, China and the US consumed significantly more alcohol than before the pandemic, and the trend is growing. . Even more wine is observed outside of mealtime. That is, global demand for wine as a soft drink has grown despite the pandemic.

Relying on other studies, consumers are now abandoning strong drinks and choosing dry, semi-dry and semi-sweet grape wines. Individual companies pay for the production of special containers (thermos flasks), light and small, capable of storing cold wine and recommended to tourists.

Finally, the production of alcohol is beneficial for the state budget of any country. For example, the share of income from the production of wine, alcohol and tobacco in the Soviet era was significant.

For the production and consumption of wine in Germany since 1902, a special tax (foam tax) has been introduced, which is set at 136 euros per 100 liters of wine. The Foam tax for a 0.75-liter bottle of wine is about 1.02 euros and is charged at the producer's expense after the wine is taken out of the factory's warehouse. The German budget receives between 320 and 500 million euros annually in the form of a" foam tax" or wine tax.

Although Germany has three times more vineyards than Tajikistan (102 thousand hectares), but annually produces up to 800 thousand tons of wine. This corresponds to 7-8 tons of wine per hectare. It should not be forgotten that Germany has a total of 1600-2000 hours of sunlight per year.

As you can see, viticulture and the production of juices and wine is one of the sectors of the economy that, if it is given more attention, can quickly become a profitable industry. High-quality raw materials, many sunny days, cheap labor, fresh water and existing markets are the main basis for the development of this sector, which, fortunately, exists in Tajikistan.

Your new vision, business plans for the development of this industry, sustainable production facilities and, most importantly, their worthy representation at international events and expression of intentions for mutually beneficial cooperation will be the key to interaction with foreign investors and the development of this industry.

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